Candidate was denied clearance by Intelligence Bureau

New Delhi : Sources in the Prime Minister’’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday sought to bury the controversy over the appointment of Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram as an additional director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), pointing out that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had recommended a candidate who was denied clearance by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for the central deputation and who was also too junior for the post.

They said, CBI director Ranjit Sinhatoo  had expressed his reservations on appointing R K Pachnanda, a 1983 batch West Bengal cadre IPS officer who was shunted out by Mamata Banerjee in February last year as the Kolkata Police Commissioner.

The Department of Personnel and Training had submitted a panel of three IPS officers to the CVC for the post which included Ramasundaram, a 1980 batch IPS officer from Tamil Nadu, Ashok Kumar, a 1982 batch IPS officer also from the same cadre and Pachnanda. The CVC recommended the single name of Pachnanda which was rejected by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments. The CVC, however, again sent his name without asking the CBI chief for a meeting, which violates the existing norms. Hence the PMO summoned a list from the selection committee of DoPT and selected Ramasundaram who was the seniormost. Before approving his appointment, the government had also sought the opinion of Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran who advised that the government has “sufficient discretion to reject” if a single name is rejected.

Parasaran said the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in a 2011 judgment on the appointment of the high ranking officers in CBI are applicable as it had held that “institutional integrity should be a primary consideration in making such an appointment, keeping in mind not only the eligibility criteria but also the fact that the CBI has to perform an important investigative function.” In his view, the government will be able to stand judicial scrutiny of rejecting a single name sent by the CVC.

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